‘Specialised skills required for trobleshooting EV charging stations in short supply’: TeamLease’s Subburathinam P | Autocar Professional


‘Specialised skills required for trobleshooting EV charging stations in short supply’: TeamLease’s Subburathinam P | Autocar Professional

As companies move towards electrification, bridging the skill gap will be critical to augment the industry’s growth. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has estimated that the EV industry can create 1 crore direct jobs and five crore indirect jobs by 2030. Subburathinam P, Chief Strategy Officer, TeamLease, talks about adopting strategies that combine vocational education and apprenticeships, and the importance of reskilling and upskilling. 

How do we address the skill gap as companies move towards EVs, given the latest EV policy?

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship anticipates that electric vehicle companies in India are going to generate one crore direct jobs by 2030, with an additional five crore indirect jobs. 

Despite this potential, there are significant concerns regarding the existing skill gap in the workforce. The specialised skills required for installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting EV charging stations are currently in short supply. Traditional educational institutions encounter difficulties in addressing the talent requirements of industries like electric vehicles, given the rapid advancements in technology and the constant evolution of requirements. Educational institutions must update their curricula to integrate EV-specific courses covering mechatronics, battery technology and charging infrastructure to meet evolving industry demands.

Government support through incentives for skill development and its backing for vocational training centres dedicated to EV technologies will be crucial. Private sector initiatives, including internal training programmes, are necessary to cultivate a workforce proficient in EV-related skills and ensure a seamless transition from traditional automotive manufacturing and servicing to EV production.

Do we need to rethink education coursework to make this possible?

The existing curricula in India’s institutes may not adequately cover the specific skills required for designing, manufacturing, and maintaining EVs. The emerging job landscape is expected to shift away from traditional manufacturing towards areas such as IoT, mechatronics, robotics, 3D printing, AI, machine and deep learning, analytics, virtual collaboration, automotive design, and computational thinking. To address this gap, the Automotive Skills Development Council (ASDC) under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has taken steps to skill India’s workforce with adequate knowledge of occupational skills like R&D, manufacturing, sales, services etc. It also has courses for developing standards for Industry 4.0- Robotics and Electric Vehicle.

How can companies contribute in this regard?

Companies can conduct skill gap assessments, devise personalised development plans and evaluate their effectiveness to bolster workforce capabilities.Incentivising participation in such programmes through career advancement opportunities, performance-based incentives, or recognition for acquired certifications not only encourages employee engagement in learning but also fosters loyalty and retention within the organisation.

What models can be adopted from other countries? Or is India unique in this case because we are more labour-intensive whereas developed countries are more capital intensive?

India can bridge the EV sector’s skill gap by considering international models while acknowledging its labourintensive economy. One strategy is to adopt collaborative training models like Germany’s dual vocational system, combining apprenticeships with vocational education. Another approach involves fostering government-industry partnerships, mirroring the U.S. model of supporting training programmes developed with EV manufacturers. Yet another avenue for India is to emulate China’s emphasis on specialised higher education programmes for electric vehicles and encouraging universities and technical institutes to offer specialised courses and degrees focused on EV technology. 

While India’s labour-intensive market differs from the more capital-intensive approaches of developed countries, the focus should be on creating a balanced ecosystem that leverages our labour force while integrating capital-intensive technologies. This can ensure that India’s workforce remains competitive and that the manufacturing sector can thrive in the era of EVs.

How do we make ITIs and training courses more appealing to people?

It is essential to recognise the evolving needs of both learners and industries. By modernising the curriculua, enhancing practical training opportunities, providing career guidance, fostering industry partnerships, offering flexible learning options, and providing financial incentives, ITIs can attract a diverse pool of talented individuals and equip them with the skills needed for a successful career.

This feature was first published in Autocar Professional’s July 1, 2024 issue.

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